I agree totally.Sara H wrote: there's more than one way to do things, and being able to offer the Dharma for free, is an achievable goal.
Some of the models you mention work for some situations and not for other situations. I pretty much know what people are willing to 'offer' to pay for artwork, and that is usually what I charge. Unfortunately it is much less that what I can 'donate' to the grocery store, the veterinarian, the utility company, and so on. Most symphonies in the United States cannot survive on patron support alone. Perhaps some people in your sangha would be able to write down the method for accomplishing what you have described. A sort of how-to guide. I remember the shasta abbey ads in magazines. I believe they have a very large support base. Not all Buddhist groups are in the same situation as OBC.
By the way, at the bottom of the OBC website:
© 2012 Order of Buddhist Contemplatives
There are many ways to do things, as you say.
I have put together a different type of fund raising for that group I mentioned, begun last year, which does rely purely on generosity, a little bit each day, from a large number of people, and that will bring in much more than selling things did. And in fact, they got a big single donation too, as a result of it.
But this doesn't have much to do with copyrighting Dharma literature. As far as copyright goes, whether related to finances or not, it is still important for maintaining the integrity of the work. It is designed to protect works from being misused, or used in a way that presents the creator as having said something they didn't, as I alluded to before. There is plenty of stuff in Buddhist teachings that can be, and has been taken out of context for the purpose of denouncing the Dharma. Nobody is required to copyright their work, but we should respect those who do.